The New York Rangers traded away their first-round picks between 2013 and 2016. After not having a first-round pick for four years, they entered a rapid rebuild and made four selections in the following two drafts selecting Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Vitali Kravtsov, and K’Andre Miller.
The Rangers are a competitive team again with some veteran leaders in Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and goalie Igor Shestyorkin. Complimenting the veteran leaders are a talented selection of under 25-year-old players in Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, K’Adndre Miller, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere.
While the Rangers have graduated several prospects and traded some away, the pipeline may not be elite as it recently was but still boasts some promising prospects that may make an impact in the near future.
1. Brennan Othmann, LW – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Drafted: 2021 round one, 16th overall by New York Rangers
The Scarborough native may only be average size at six feet and 174 pounds, but he plays a big, heavy and physical game. Othmann is known for two things, scoring goals and delivering big hits. Othmann scored 50 goals in his junior season as captain of the Flint Firebirds and in his final OHL campaign produced 24 points in 16 games with Flint before a trade to the Petes. His production in Peterborough has dipped to just over a point per game (still very good), but his playoff performance will be the real measuring stick for his performance this year. Othmann represented Canada again at the WJC, collecting his second Gold Medal with six points in seven games.
Othmann will begin his professional career next year and will push to make the Rangers out of training camp. Some AHL development may be needed, but when he arrives in Manhattan, it will be as a goal-scoring top-six winger that delivers regular big-league hits and will be a fan favorite.
2. Zac Jones, LD – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Drafted: 2019 round three, 68th overall by New York Rangers
Jones has been a high-profile prospect for years and the sand in the hourglass is starting to run out. After winning the USHL Rookie of the Year award with 52 points in 56 games, he played two NCAA seasons at UMass finishing with an NCAA Championship. He finished that year in the NHL after signing his ELC and then with USA at the World Championship where he scored three points in ten games to help win the Bronze.
Jones has split time between the AHL and NHL in his first two seasons as a pro. After starting this season in the NHL, was returned to the AHL after 16 games with the Rangers. Jones is an undersized player that will need to rely on his above-average hockey sense to make it to the NHL full-time.
3. Brett Berard, LW – Providence College (NCAA)
Drafted: 2020 round five, 134th overall by New York Rangers
It’s fun to root for the underdog, and that’s Berard. A fifth-round selection and standing at 5-9 and 165 pounds, he lacks size and draft pedigree. But what makes him such an endearing prospect is his determination.
He plays an aggressive forechecking style, driving pucks to the goal, and hard to play in areas. He supports teammates, plays both sides of the puck, and is fearless. His offensive game has steadily developed to the point where he is a point-per-game player as a sophomore. He has represented USA at the WCJ twice now and as a junior in college could begin his pro career this spring.
Berard will need to continue to add strength and bulk up for the pro level and his skating, while not a weakness could use some refinement as well. He should become a bottom-six, energy player, and fan favorite when he arrives.
4. Will Cuylle, LW – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Drafted: 2020 round two, 60th overall by New York Rangers
Cuylle has two above-average skills that will take him to the NHL, his shot and his physicality. There are some deficiencies that could keep him out of the NHL, his skating and defensive play.
When the OHL shut down, Cuylle played 18 AHL games and scored five points. He returned to the OHL in his D+2 season as captain of the Windsor Spitfires and scored 43 goals, 80 points, and 48 PIMs. He also played for Canada winning Gold at the WJC with four points and 25 PIMs in seven games.
Cuylle is in his first pro season and is on pace for 23 goals in the AHL. He was recently recalled for his NHL debut playing in two games for the Rangers. His rookie season has shown plenty of promise and as such has Cuylle moving u the ranks.
5. Adam Sykora, LW/C – HK Nitra (Slovakia)
Drafted: 2022 round two, 63rd overall by New York Rangers
Sykora is a similar profile to Berard in that he is an undersized player that plays an aggressive forechecking style. His offensive upside still has not come into focus, but at 18 years old, he has plenty of time to develop. Sykora is already playing professional hockey against men so his muted offensive totals may be a result of the competition he faces.
Overall he plays an advanced game for a player his age and with some development in Europe. Sykora should make the move to the AHL and begin making the transition to North American hockey within a year or two.
6. Vitali Kravtsov, RW – New York Rangers
Drafted: 2018 round one, 9th overall by New York Rangers
A constant subject of trade rumors, Kravtsov has struggled to make the Rangers roster on a regular basis. His reluctance to report to the AHL has been a problem. He did play in 39 games with Hartford in 2019-20 and managed to produce 15 points in 39 games, before he bolted to Russia to finish the season.
The following year he played in 20 NHL games but was not impactful managing only four points and he was sent back to Russia. He remained in Russia for all of the 2021-22 season playing in only 19 games.
Currently with the Rangers, Kravtsov has played in only 27 games due to injuries and is on pace for 14 points in 60 games. He has not lived up to his draft billing and it may be time for a trade to try to salvage an NHL career.
7. Dylan Garand, G – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Drafted: 200 round four, 103rd overall by New York Rangers.
If Garand were 6-4, he would be one of the top-ranked goalie prospects. He was named the CHL Goaltender of the Year and backstopped Canada to a WJC Gold in his final season in the WHL with Kamloops.
Garand is in his rookie AHL season and has won the starting job in Hartford. His numbers don’t pop with a .887 SV% and a 8-9-3 record, but Hartford is a middle of the pact team in the AHL this year. With Igor Shesterkin the incumbent with the Rangers, Garand can continue to get starts and develop in the AHL.
8. Bryce McConnell-Barker, C – Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Drafted: 2022 round three, 97th overall by New York Rangers.
After losing his true rookie season when the OHL shut down, McConnell-Barker played his rookie year in his second season as a 17-year-old in his draft year of a rebuilding Greyhounds. His 49 points in 68 games had him on draft radars ranked as high as 58th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
He returned to the OHL and was named the captain of the Soo and has had a breakout season on pace for 83 points in 68 games in his D+1 year. His play has made the Rangers look good for selecting him in the third round, and if he continues to develop, he is on track to be an effective middle-six forward.
9. Ryder Korczak, C – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Drafted: 2021 round three, 75th overall by New York Rangers.
Korczak started the year in the AHL in Hartford but struggled to find his game going pointless through five games. The Rangers decided to return him to the WHL for his overage year with the Warriors. Back in the dub, he is on pace for a 72 point season through 49 games.
Korczak is a highly skilled offensive player, he has a soft touch with the puck and can manipulate the puck. He is a dual threat with his finishing ability and his playmaking prowess. The question will be if he can play with the pace of the higher levels of the AHL and NHL.
10. Matthew Robertson, LD – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Drafted: 2019 round two, 49th overall by New York Rangers.
Robertson has a tough challenge ahead of him to crack the Rangers roster, but with his size at 6-4 and his skating ability, he has NHL upside. The Rangers can slow play his development in the AHL as he is currently in his sophomore season and his offensive production is on pace to double from his rookie season.